Sunday, November 18, 2018

Le 6 à Table Restaurant, Caromb

As wife Shirley tells everybody, "Michel is a list person". And yes, when it comes to restaurants and most anything that is related to food or wine, I'm usually drawn to places which are on a list of "best" in the area. That is why we headed to Caromb to meet friends one evening a few months ago to dine at Le 6 à Table Restaurant, a new addition to the Bib Gourmand restaurants in the Michelin Guide.

Caromb is a small village located about 20 kms from Sablet between Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Caromb is memorable for me as the location of a restaurant called Le Four à Chaux where we and our Bistro des Copains team who were lodged in nearby Mormoiron dined the first night of a memorable trip to Provence back in January 2007.

Entrance to Caromb

There are quite a few fountains in Caromb, many from the 18th and 19th centuries. The most well known is the Fountain du Portail du Rieu, on the main road in the village in front of the Medieval entry, and popular with the many cyclists who pedal by on their way to or from Mont Ventoux.

Center of Caromb

Le 6 à Table is located in the center of Caromb across from the church. It is owned by chef Pascal Poulain and his wife Claire. The name comes from its location at 6 Place Nationale. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, the first place we ever dined in Provence was called Le Four à Chaux. In an interesting coincidence, the restaurant where the chef first cooked was Le Four à Chaux which at the time was owned by his father.

Le 6 à Table Restaurant

We arrived with friends Robert and Barbara of Vaison-la-Romaine culinary school Cuisine de Provence and shown to our table in the dining room. After catching up, we perused the wine list and were delighted to find a wine from Corinna Faravel's Domaine Martinelle on the list. In another bit of coincidence, wine from Martinelle appeared on Bistro Des Copains' wine list from time to time.

Domaine Martinelle Beaumes De Venise

After we ordered wine, the chef sent out his amuse bouche for the evening, a little bite of Chèvre from Le Barroux with cherry tomato. An amuse bouche of some type, sometimes as simple as olives or tapenade almost always accompanies a meal in a French restaurant. The term literally means "mouth amuser" and serves to prepare guests for the meal and/or offer a preview of the chef's cooking style. I just posted on Facebook about my family's tie to Le Barroux. You might want to check it out.

Amuse Bouche of Chèvre from Le Barroux with cherry tomato

What follows are photographs of a starter and main course and the desserts.

Starter of Provence asparagus with Salmon eggs and Sabayon sauce

Shirley was happy to see a Spelt risotto accompanied the fillet of fish. Until we started spending time in Sablet, we had never encountered Spelt, an ancient grain cultivated on the plateau of Sault (1 hour from Sablet) and harvested in August. It was plentiful in the Roman era, it was only rediscovered by the general public about thirty years ago. You find it frequently on restaurant menus around Sablet. It has a sweet, nutty chewiness that we love.

Fillet of wild Barbue (species of fish in the Turbot family) with Spelt risotto

Molten chocolate cake with strawberry sorbet

Mille Feuille with strawberries and coconut ice cream

We had a wonderful time at Le 6 à Table, a convivial evening with dear friends, excellent wine and delicious and beautifully presented food. I highly recommend you plan to dine here if you happen to be spending time in or around Sablet. You won't regret it.

Le 6 à Table
6 Place Nationale
84330 Caromb
Tel: +33 4 90 62 37 91

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Roussillon, the Most Colorful Village in Provence

We rarely go to Sablet without taking a day trip to Roussillon, a village in the Luberon about 35 miles southeast of Sablet. We never tire of seeing this colorful village, tinted by 17 different colors of ocher that used to be mined here; this makes Roussillon unique compared to other villages in the area.

The Luberon is a combination of 3 mountain ranges that stretch 35 miles from Cavaillon in the west to Manosque in the east and from the town of Apt south to the Durance River. Much of the area including Roussillon is protected in the Parc Naturel Régional du Luberon.

Roussillon lies in the northern part of the Luberon and is classified as one of the Plus Beaux Villages de France (one of the most beautiful villages of France). Roussillon sits above one of the world's largest ocher deposits where 17 shades of ocher--violet, blood red, orange, yellow, and everything in between were once mined.


The Librairie (bookstore) in La Maison Tacchella to the left and the Hotel de Ville (town hall) to the right in Town Hall Square, the main hub of activity along with the place du Pasquier on Thursday mornings when there's a weekly market and traffic gets even more congested than usual.

View of Town Hall Square

As you stroll around the village, make sure you look for the 169 year old grape vine in front of Restaurant la Treille.

169 year old grape vine

The clock and 19th century belfry with a campanile overlooking the main village square. The archway at the bottom of the belfry was the ancient entrance into the fortified area called the Castrum

Roussillon clock and belfry

Roussillon has been inhabited since Neolithic time, then later by the Romans who also left their traces. The village is also well known for being home to Samuel Beckett during Second World War.

Saint Michel Church

Colorful Roussillon House

Saint Michel Church whose origins go back to the 11th century, originally faced the castle, inside the fortified walls. The church has undergone countless renovations over time, necessitated in part by its location by the cliff.

Saint Michel Church

The ocher facades of the houses in Roussillon are beautiful - the colors vary from light yellow to dark red, accented by brightly painted shutters and doors. Many date from the 17th and 18th century.

View over village to the cemetery and ocher cliffs

Just a few minutes walk from the village is the trailhead for the Sentier des Ocres (Ocher trail). Ocher is a natural pigment in the soil which form the cliffs around Roussillon. Iron oxides color the sands into shades ranging from yellow to violet. The mineral landscape shows the effects of erosion and mining work done by man.

Two different trails, one short, one long, take you through the ocher lands on a 30-minute or 60-minute walk. You can stay as long as you like. Information signs along the way describe the geology, flora and history of the ocher deposits in the Luberon. The trails takes you past multi-colored ocher formations set against a backdrop of pine trees.

Ocher Cliff

Flowering bush spotted in Roussillon

Shirley with friends, Fred and Linda

Color abounds in Roussillon

As you can imagine, the beauty of Roussillon draws hordes of artists and visitors during tourist season. It is the most visited village in the Luberon after Gordes, a few miles to the west. Despite this, we have never had any problem finding parking close to the village.

View of bell tower from parking lot

We think it's best to visit in the morning when the first sunshine of the day strikes the village, to see the glowing colors at their most stunning. Roussillon is fairly small so it doesn't take very long to explore. So combine a visit to Roussillon with a visit to Gordes or other hill towns such as Lacoste, Menerbes or Lourmarin in the Luberon.

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